Thursday, 18 August 2005

Lasang Pinoy 1: Yellow Confetti Pancit Molo

In the initial launch of this new food blogging event - Lasang Pinoy (literally means 'filipino taste') cooked up by Karen and Stef - we honour Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino who was assassinated last 21st of August 1983 when he returned to Manila from 3 years of exile in Boston, MA, USA. His death sparked the wick of rebellion and opposition against the two decade repressive rule of Ferdinand Marcos which culminated in the peaceful EDSA or People Power revolution in February 1986 that saw the overthrow of Marcos' government. (Please click on the links for a backgrounder on Ninoy and all the events leading to the EDSA revolution.)

It was a time when I was so proud to be a Filipino. Even as I was reliving those memories now, I've got goose pimples and tears welled up in my eyes. It was a time of unity among most of the Filipinos, of intense emotions, of sacrifice, and rising up against a formidable foe in the guise of Marcos administration. During all these, I was a teenage working student of engineering in Manila. We were thunder struck when word spread that Ninoy was shot as he was descending from his airplane on his way back from US exile. There was a universal indignant and angry response from everybody with the realisation that Marcos' government has gone too far.

Then came Ninoy's funeral where between 1 to 2 million people marched in the procession or lined the roads from Sto. Domingo church in Manila to a memorial park in a southern Manila suburb. Never has the Philippines seen such great outpouring of solidarity for a person. My husband (my boyfriend at that time) would remember it well. He was standing at one of the elevated base pillar of the Manila Post Office in Plaza Lawton watching the funeral cortege of Ninoy go by, with people numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When a classmate of ours in the procession saw him and shouted, "Hoy Aquino! Sayang ang pangalan mo, bumaba ka dyan at sumama ka sa amin." ("Hey Aquino! It's a shame about your name, come down from there and join us.") - see, his family name is same as Ninoy's, no relation by the way. Probably hundreds of people around within earshot looked at him and he got so embarassed at the attention that he went down and joined the march. And that's how he walked the approx 20 miles from Lawton to Paranaque for Ninoy. Hahaha! Such sacrifice, all just to save face. :LOL:

But he redeemed himself when he joined the barricade at the EDSA revolution near Camp Crame. He was there when the tanks came to break up the blockade mingling among the priests, nuns, professionals, policitians and the average joe like him wanting to oust Marcos. You may ask where was I in all these? I was sitting at home with my family perpetually listening to Radio Veritas. Frustrated from being prevented by my family and the boyfriend (yeah that Aquino) from joining in EDSA because he said it was dangerous. He did have all the fun. :( Shame.

You might think when is she getting to the point of the food? Ah okay, you see my inspiration for submitting this dish is the yellow confetti (made from shredded yellow phone directories) that greeted every Laban rally (opposition party led by Ninoy's widow Cory) in the financial district of Makati during the campaign for the presidential snap election that Marcos called. There were also these noise barrage where at a certain day and a certain time people all over the country were asked to make noise as a sign of solidarity with the opposition. And glorious noise they were - people honked their horns, blew whistles, while our neighborhood banged pots, pans, batya (large basins), even fireworks. Such fun actually! But the beautiful sight of yellow confetti falling like snow on the streets was the one image that I always felt so magical that got embedded in my memory.

And what's the relation to the recipe? I'll get to that ... be patient. ;) This dish is the Filipino version of the Chinese wonton soup. The main difference is that our version has some minced meat mixed with the soup. On a tangent, I don't know why they called this as such because I always thought 'pancit' has noodles. There's not a thread of that in here for sure. Maybe some of you who knows about food names' origins and history can give us a hint on why this is so. Our family's version has extra wonton wrappers snipped into small pieces and cooked in the soup in the final stages. I used yellow wonton wrappers so that at serving they look like and perfectly remind me of those raining yellow confetti. Finally!

In echo of Laban's battlecry:

Tama na! Sobra na! Masyado ng mahaba ang post mo!


Pancit Molo

*Wonton Filling:
250 g  minced pork
250 g  shrimps - shelled and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped waterchestnuts
1/3 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 medium onion - finely chopped
1 egg
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

about 40 pieces of wonton wrappers

10 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 medium onion - chopped
100 g  shrimps - shelled and finely minced [about 1/3 cup]
100 g  minced pork or shredded cooked chicken [about 1/2 cup]
1 1/2 Tbsp patis (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper

chopped green onion
fried garlic

*For the wonton:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Lay one wonton wrapper on a plate or clean working surface. Put a teaspoonful mound of the filling in the middle. Wet the wonton wrapper around the filling then bring all edges together to seal and form like a pouch with the filling in the center. (see small picture above - click to enlarge)
  3. Repeat until all fillings are used up.
  4. Reserve a few wonton wrappers and cut or shred them into small confetti-like pieces.

*For the soup:
  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized stock pot.
  2. Saute the garlic in medium-low heat. Do not burn, if you think the oil is too hot remove the pot from the hob right away and reduce the heat.
  3. Once garlic is golden crispy brown, scoop out 2/3 of it and set aside.
  4. Add in the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes or until translucent.
  5. Bring up heat to medium-high and stir in the minced pork and shrimps. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Mix in the patis, stir. Cover pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add in the stock and bring to boil.
  8. Gently drop the wontons in the boiling stock. (Put in just 20-30 wontons, the rest can be fried and served with sweet n sour sauce OR frozen and used the next time you cook this).
  9. Turn down heat to low and simmer under cover for about 30 minutes.
  10. Add in the shredded reserved wonton wrappers, cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat. Serve in bowls topped by chopped green onion and fried garlic.

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